CHICAGO, U.S. — The 2020 NAMA Industry Person of the Year is Nicky Gacos, Owner, Colorado Café Associates. According to the award nomination, “Nicky has, through his career, exemplified the very best of what American industry has shown the world: that the private sector can both reward the deserving individuals who risk their capital and deploy their hard work and ingenuity, and also serve the public good.
No previous NAMA award recipient embodies this dual essential achievement more than Nicky, who has fostered partnerships across the industry and — critically — brought great talent into our industry from outside, while helping budding entrepreneurs earn business success and financial independence.”
In 1992, Nicky began his career as a vending operator with just one location. Since that time, his he has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the entire industry, including Randolph — Sheppard entrepreneurs. In 2015, Nicky Gacos was elected to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of NAMA, the first blind person to have this distinction.
Nicky has served as the president of the National Association of Blind Merchants, a division of the National Federation of the Blind, for ten years. In this role, he has spearheaded numerous annual multi-day leadership conferences attracting hundreds of Randolph Sheppard entrepreneurs each year.
He is past Chair of the Middlesex County (New Jersey) Workforce Investment Board and member of the New Jersey’s State Employment and Training Commission. He serves as a Board member for NAMA, as well as the Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council and is a member of both NAMA’s Government Affairs and Industry Communications Committees. In 2015, he was named a NAMA Advocacy Award winner.